Muhammad Ali had no idea he would eventually be the world’s greatest. So just how did he do it?
Born in 1942, Louisville Kentucky, Cassius Clay grew up to be a dedicated boxer, philanthropist and social activist, When he set out to do something – he got results!
After catching a thief red handed trying to steal his bike and threatening to “whoop his ass” a policeman advised that Cassius first learn how to box. So that’s exactly what he did.
He soon built up an amateur record of 100 wins and only 5 loses. Cassius made a name for himself, and soon after won the light heavyweight title in the 1960 summer Olympics in Rome.
He changed his name after joining the Nation of Islam faith in 1964 and became ‘Muhammad Ali.
Whilst at the top of his game Ali was the biggest trash talker in boxing.
He has a professional boxing career boasting 56 Wins (37 knockouts), 5 Losses and 0 Draws.
Ring Magazine named Ali the number 1 boxer in a 1998 list of the greatest heavyweights from all eras. And the Assosiated Press voted Ali the No. 1 heavyweight of the 20th century in 1999.
He has stood by his beliefs to the point where in by in Houston 1967 he refused three times to step forward at the call of his name for his scheduled induction into the U.S. Armed Forces.
For refusing he was threatened with a 5 year jail sentence and a $100,000 fine. He still did not move forward saying:
“No, I am not going 10,000 miles to help murder, kill, and burn other people to simply help continue the domination of white slave-masters over dark people. This is the day and age when such evil injustice must come to an end”
“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?”
This decision cost him his boxing licence and he was stripped of his world heavyweight boxing title.
Unable to box in ANY state again for 3 years Ali spoke publicly in schools and universities about war and its effects becoming a social activist.
In his trial on June 28, 1971, the supreme court reversed his conviction for refusing induction by unanimous decision.
The decision was not based on, nor did it address, the merits of Ali’s claims per se; rather, the government’s failure to specify which claims were rejected and which were sustained.
In 1974 his fight against Joe Frazier commonly known as “The Rumble in the Jungle”, all odds were against Ali. However in the 8th round, Ali finished the fight with a knockout!
So just what is it that makes Muhammad Ali such a likeable person and why is he considered such an Alpha Male? What can we learn from him to apply to ourselves……
Well let’s start with the fact that he’s humble and funny. Charisma goes a long way and here in this interview with Michael Parkinson he shows just how he wins the respect and love of the world.
He’s the ultimate male, he believes he is the best and therefore nothing but the best is good enough from him.
He’s able to psych out his opponents to the point where they “fight too hard” giving him the upper hand once their anxiety and fatigue take over. This gets him the results he wants.
He fears nothing, even having come from a family history of slavery and poverty he has risen above it and has never looked back.
He follows his faith – it may not be to everyone’s logic, but for him it has worked and we only need to follow his life journey to see that he has accomplished more than he himself ever thought possible.
In the interview link he is told that the fans fear for his safety as a boxer and that he may succumb to a horrible fate as so many others do.
But he simply answers that he has risen above the fears of what most people see. They look up and see danger, he looks down from where his mentality has risen to and says he fears nothing, that each day is to be lived, not spent pondering over negativities.
Sadly Ali only had one more fight after the rumble in the jungle.
The former champion boxer Muhammad Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1984 at the age of 42
Ali began showing symptoms of the disease soon after retiring from the ring in 1981. But his condition was not diagnosed until three years later.
By that stage he had developed tremors, his speech was slurred, and his body movements had become slow.
Ali once calculated he took 29,000 punches to the head in a career that spanned more than two decades. He fought without headgear as an amateur, and never backed down while trading punches with brutal sluggers such as Frazier, Earnie Shavers and George Foreman.
By the final stages of his career, Ali was slurring words. Not long afterward, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
Drs don’t believe Ali got Parkinson’s because of repeated blows to the head because he doesn’t have classic Dementia symptoms.
Ali is coherent and his thought process is still intact, though the Parkinson’s forces him to communicate more with gestures and actions instead of words.
When asked how he stays so positive. Ali will say, ‘I’ve got the best-known face on the planet. I’m the three-time heavyweight champion of the world. I’ve got no reason to be down.”
Even now aged 70 his daughter explains that Ali still watches videos of old his fights. His hands will move, his eyes will twitch, as he remembers the magnificent fighter he once was.
John Ramsey, a Louisville radio and television personality who has been a close friend of Ali’s for more than 30 years says: “His memory is better than mine and he’s very sharp. His sense of humor is still there, too. Ali remains a proud man. There are no complaints. No time spent bemoaning his fate. He never played the victim”
Ali explains to his family, ‘these are the cards I was dealt, so don’t be sad,’
This just goes to show how strong he is. Not only was he strong physically, but he remains stronger than most of us mentally.
What this should teach us is that with self belief, determination, bravery, an ability to give to others and the desire to succeed, we are all capable.
I was amazed by Ali before writing this, now though, after researching, watching video interviews id never seen before and understanding him more as a person than a celebrity, ive developed a respect and love for him that I think ill carry with me always.
Just hearing some of the things he has said over the years, is an inspiration for me to live life with more self belief and confidence, and words that should make all of us strive to be the best that we can be every day.
The man who has no imagination has no wings.
To be able to give away riches is mandatory if you wish to possess them. This is the only way that you will be truly rich.
Friendship… is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.
He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.
I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.
I hated every minute of training, but I said, “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”
It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.
It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.
It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.
Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.
Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.
I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.